The classic Greek pastry - too sticky, too buttery, too rich, too everything. Perfect.
4 cups walnuts, finely chopped
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 454-g pkg frozen phyllo pastry, thawed
1 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 cups honey
1 tbsp lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
In a large bowl, toss together the walnuts, sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.
Unroll the package of phyllo pastry onto a sheet of waxed paper. Cover with a second sheet of waxed paper (to keep the phyllo from drying out).
Brush a 9 x 13 in. (23 x 33 cm) rectangular baking dish with some of the melted butter. Now, remove one full sheet of phyllo pastry from the stack and gently place in the baking dish, allowing it to extend up the sides of the dish. Let your child brush it lightly with melted butter. Repeat until you have 6 layers of phyllo pastry in the baking dish, brushing each one with melted butter. Sprinkle with 1 cup (250 mL) of the walnut mixture.
Now, cut the remaining sheets of phyllo pastry crosswise in half. (A half-sheet of phyllo should fit the baking dish almost exactly.) Place one of these half-sheets over the layer of walnuts in the baking dish. Brush with butter. Repeat until you have 6 layers of phyllo, each brushed with butter. Sprinkle with 1 cup (250 mL) of the walnut mixture.
OK, so far we've used half of the walnut mixture, right? Repeat this procedure - 6 sheets of phyllo, 1 cup (250 mL) walnuts, 6 more sheets of phyllo, another cup of walnuts, blah, blah, blah - until all the walnuts are gone. The top layer should be 6 sheets of phyllo pastry.
Trim away the excess phyllo pastry (the stuff that's sticking up from the bottom layer overhang) and brush the top with melted butter. With a very sharp knife, cut through the top few layers of pastry in a diamond pattern (4 long rows, then diagonally across) and bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until the top is golden and crisp.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, heat the honey with the lemon juice until hot but not boiling. Spoon the hot honey evenly over the baklava as soon as it comes out of the oven. Let cool completely before cutting into diamonds (along the precut lines) and serving. Store leftovers in a cookie tin or plastic container at room temperature.
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